Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

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A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution

Ellen Brown

http://WebofDebt.wordpress.com

August 2, 2016

Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports a basic income guarantee; the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

As with Sanders’ economic proposals, her plan has been challenged as unrealistic. Where will Congress find the money?

But Stein argues that the funds can be found. Going beyond Bernie, she calls for large cuts to the bloated military budget, which makes up 55% of federal discretionary spending; and progressive taxation, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. Most controversial, however, is her plan to tap up the Federal Reserve. Pointing to the massive sums the Fed produced out of the blue to bail out Wall Street, she says the same resources used to save the perpetrators of the crisis could be made available to its Main Street victims, beginning with the students robbed of their futures by massive student debt..

It Couldn’t Be Done Until It Was

Is tapping up the Fed realistic? Putting aside for the moment the mechanics of pulling it off, the central bank has indeed revealed that it has virtually limitless resources, as seen in the radical “emergency measures” taken since 2008.

The Fed first surprised Congress when it effectively “bought” AIG, a private insurance company, for $80 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked, “Many of us were . . . taken aback when the Fed had $80 billion to invest — to put into AIG just out of the blue. All of a sudden we wake up one morning and AIG has received $80 billion from the Fed. So of course we’re saying, Where’s this money come from?”

The response was, “Oh, we have it. And not only that, we have more.”

How much more was revealed in 2011, after an amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the 2010 Wall Street reform law prompted the Government Accounting Office to conduct the first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve. It revealed that the Fed had provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the economic crisis. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” said Sanders in a press release.

Then there was the shocker of “quantitative easing” (QE), an unconventional monetary policy in which the central bank creates new money electronically to buy financial assets such as Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (many of them “toxic”) from the banks. Critics said QE couldn’t be done because it would lead to hyperinflation. But it was done, and that dire result has not occurred.

Unfortunately, the economic stimulus that QE was supposed to trigger hasn’t occurred either. QE has failed because the money has gotten no further than the balance sheets of private banks. To stimulate the demand that will jumpstart the economy, new money needs to get into the real economy and the pockets of consumers.

Why QE Hasn’t Worked, and What Would

The goal of QE as currently implemented is to return inflation to target levels by increasing private sector borrowing. But today, as economist Richard Koo explains, individuals and businesses are paying down debt rather than taking out new loans. They are doing this although credit is very cheap, because they need to rectify their debt-ridden balance sheets in order to stay afloat. Koo calls it a “balance sheet recession.”

As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, the vast majority of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. Money is created when loans are made, and it is extinguished when they are paid off. When loan repayment exceeds borrowing, the money supply “deflates” or shrinks. New money then needs to be injected to fill the breach. Currently, the only way to get new money into the economy is for someone to borrow it into existence; and since the private sector is not borrowing, the public sector must, just to replace what has been lost in debt repayment. But government borrowing from the private sector means running up interest charges and hitting deficit limits.

The alternative is to do what governments arguably should have been doing all along: issue the money directly to fund their budgets.

Central bankers have largely exhausted their toolkits, prompting some economists to recommend some form of “helicopter money” – newly-issued money dropped directly into the real economy. Funds acquired from the central bank in exchange for government securities could be used to build infrastructure, issue a national dividend, or purchase and nullify federal debt. Nearly interest-free loans could also be made by the central bank to state and local governments, in the same way they were issued to rescue an insolvent banking system.

Just as the Fed bought federal and mortgage-backed securities with money created on its books, so it could buy student or other consumer debt bundled as “asset-backed securities.” But in order to stimulate economic activity, the central bank would have to announce that the debt would never be collected on. This is similar to the form of “helicopter money” recently suggested by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to the Japanese, using debt instruments called “non-marketable perpetual bonds with no maturity date” – bonds that can’t be sold or cashed out by the central bank and that bear no interest.

The Bernanke proposal (which he says could also be used by the US Fed in an emergency) involves the government issuing bonds, which it sells to the central bank for dollars generated digitally by the bank. The government then spends the funds directly into the economy, bypassing the banks.

Something similar could be done as a pilot project with student debt, Stein’s favorite target for relief. The US government could pay the Department of Education for the monthly payments coming due for students not in default or for whom payment had been suspended until they found employment. This would free up income in those households to spend on other consumer goods and services, boosting the economy in a form of QE for Main Street.

In QE as done today, the central bank reserves the right to sell the bonds it purchases back into the market, in order to reverse any hyperinflationary effects that may occur in the future. But selling bonds and taking back the cash is not the only way to shrink the money supply. The government could just raise taxes on sectors that are currently under-taxed (tax-dodging corporations and the super-rich) and void out the additional money it collects. Or it could nationalize “systemically important” banks that are insolvent or have failed to satisfy Dodd-Frank “living will” requirements (a category that now includes five of the country’s largest banks), and void out some of the interest collected by these newly-nationalized banks. Insolvent megabanks, rather than being bailed out by the government or “bailed in” by their private creditors and depositors, arguably should be nationalized – not temporarily, but as permanent public utilities. If the taxpayers are assuming the risks and costs, they should be getting the profits.

None of these procedures for reversing inflation would be necessary, however, if the money supply were properly monitored. In our debt-financed system, the economy is chronically short of the money needed to support a dynamic, abundant economy. New money needs to be added to the system, and this can be done without inflating prices. If the money goes into creating goods and services rather than speculative asset bubbles, supply and demand will rise together and prices will remain stable.

Is It in the President’s Toolbox?

Whether Stein as president would have the power to pull any of this off is another question. QE is the province of the central bank, which is technically “independent” from the government. However, the president does appoint the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, Chair and Vice Chair, with the approval of the Senate.

Failing that, the money might be found by following the lead of Abraham Lincoln and the American colonists and issuing it directly through the Treasury. But an issue of US Notes or Greenbacks would also require an act of Congress to change existing law.

If Stein were unable to get either of those federal bodies to act, however, she could resort to a “radical” alternative already authorized in the Constitution: an issue of large-denomination coins. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “coin Money [and] regulate the value thereof,” and Congress has delegated that power to the Treasury Secretary. When minting a trillion dollar platinum coin was suggested as a way around an artificially imposed debt ceiling in January 2013, Philip Diehl, former head of the U.S. Mint and co-author of the platinum coin law, confirmed:

In minting the $1 trillion platinum coin, the Treasury Secretary would be exercising authority which Congress has granted routinely for more than 220 years. The Secretary authority is derived from an Act of Congress (in fact, a GOP Congress) under power expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8).

The power just needs to be exercised, something the president can instruct the Secretary to do by executive order.

In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt engaged in a radical monetary reset when he took the dollar off the gold standard domestically. The response was, “We didn’t know you could do that.” Today the Federal Reserve and central banks globally have been engaging in radical monetary policies that have evoked a similar response, and the sky has not fallen as predicted.

As Stein quotes Alice Walker, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

The runaway success of Sanders and Trump has made it clear that the American people want real change from the establishment Democratic/Republican business-as-usual that Hillary represents. But real change is not possible within the straitjacket of a debt-ridden, austerity-based financial scheme controlled by Wall Street oligarchs. Radical economic change requires radical financial change, as Roosevelt demonstrated. To carry the baton of revolution to the finish line requires revolutionary tools, which Stein has shown she has in her toolbox.

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Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. She can be heard biweekly on “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

SNAKE-OIL

The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon

See, the Bernie campaign isn’t really about spearheading a social movement that will challenge the neoliberal agenda of the Democratic Party. Bernie refuses to take on Hillary Clinton’s corporate allegiance when it matters most – in the general election. In fact, Bernie, who has pledged not to run attack ads, will not even address her neoliberalism in the primaries. Any direct challenges need to be built outside the party, but that’s not what his campaign is all about.

po2

True to my word, I put Sound of Noise at the top of the queue after watching Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Trailer From Hell. This is such an off the wall, off-beat import, from Sweden.  I suppose it takes a certain personality to appreciate wacky satire, and of course the film didn’t do much at the US box office. Foreign numbers were difficult to hunt down.

But if you want to know what to expect, see this short film version they produced prior to the feature…

Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers

The film plays with the idea of art-terrorists, musicians challenging society’s expectations and the status quo.  Deadly serious, like Red Brigades, these drummer-provocateurs go to absurd lengths in the name of art.  The film also has a magical element affecting the tone deaf cop who’s hot on their trail.

Lagging slightly near the end, the best stunts are right up front as the project gets ramped up.  Their first gig, in a hospital surgery theater, steals the show.  Definitely pump up the volume.

Sound of Noise has that European perspective that confuses and repulses Americans.  Good.  No danger of a bad Hollywood remake anytime soon.

4/5

moon-footage-apollo

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I have no idea whether humans have ever set foot on the moon or not, and that’s the position I’ve stuck to for a while now.  It is, of course, Richard Millhouse Nixon’s government that claimed this success, specifically Nixon’s military (NASA is part of the Air Force, if you don’t know that).  This was the very same Air Force bombing Laos and Cambodia around that time in secret, more wars of aggression hidden from the American public as if that was simply business as usual.  Do we believe everything “Tricky” Dicky tells us, children?

Very strange evidence has come out over the years, and a number of films exploited this evidence and made a widespread controversy over it.  I don’t claim to know which evidence outweighs the others, but something does seem a little odd about this coup de grâce against the Soviets in 1969.

Let’s be absolutely clear.  Americans allegedly went to the moon for one reason, and one reason only: to stick an American flag on the surface before the Soviets could stick a hammer and sickle on the moon’s surface.  This was about a symbolic conquest, a photo op, a propaganda ploy to impress the world’s citizens.  There was no scientific motivation.  They weren’t out to save the world or help anyone in particular.  President Kennedy publicly challenged them to get to the moon by the end of the 60’s, and so failure to do so was seen as unacceptable by the establishment.  This was a penis measurement contest and nothing more, and that Saturn 5 stands pretty damned tall.  The “space race” was a very real and public competition between the two empires, with the populations of the world deciding which empire to favor.  This is the Cold War, and it was the main motivator for all such activities.

Now some have claimed that third party monitoring stations around the world concluded that transmissions did emanate from the moon during the mission.  Okay.  That’s one kind of evidence, not sure if it’s true or not, but it too could certainly be relayed – bounced back from an unmanned lunar satellite.  No?  That is what satellites do, their Raison d’être.  The question is not whether the Astronauts went up into orbit.  The question is whether they themselves took the big journey down to the moon’s surface, jumped around, got back in, blasted off and linked up with a second module in lunar orbit and then aimed the whole contraption back at the earth and had enough fuel and supplies to survive the return journey, all perfectly executed without a snag or else they were dead.

Now, politically speaking, such a risk is borderline unthinkable.  Three dead American Astronauts would have a very different political connotation globally than three gloriously successful American Astronauts.  Thus, this type of risk assessment cannot fail to have been the focus of these decisions.  To ignore this gargantuan risk to America’s public image is not realistic, and would be irrational.  Brand America went to the moon, and the space ship and pressure suits featured little flags, as all official American endeavors consistently do.

You can go down an endless (and quite hostile) rabbit hole looking into this stuff.  The nasty so-called “debunkers” pride themselves on their arrogance, aggression and smarmy self-confidence.  They love when the other side makes an error, but they tend to ignore other matters, like the below video evidence.  That kind of hostility is purposed and in the service of intimidation.  It seeks to squash subjects and render them verboten, the same “conspiracy theory” dismissal that is always trotted out, as it is much more convenient than trying to answer a point for which one has no response.

Rest assured that the most brilliant minds were involved, with unlimited spigots of cash to make this moon mission.  Whether they chickened out and went for the fake version is probably more entertainment than crucial history now.  If faked, then the first job would be to fool their own people, the many thousands who weren’t in on the deception, and who vehemently believe it was all on the level.  One group, who had to be in on it, if hoaxed, was the Astronauts themselves.  These men appear anything but triumphant in their post-mission interviews; see the second Youtube part below.

The Chinese, who do intend to go to the moon, will probably set the record straight at that time.  Perhaps if commercial, independent third parties send missions, we may get corroboration that isn’t suspect.

It’s amazing how people expect the government to lie, except when it comes to sacred events, pseudo-religious moments like this moon business, the JFK slaughter and 9/11, among others.  Then, every utterance from these proven liars is taken at face value and cherished as Gospel.

So, what “evidence” am I referring to specifically?

This video, the filmmakers claim, is directly from NASA and was mislabeled.  It was not intended to be released to the public – ever –  and it appears to be genuine Apollo 11 footage.

But what are they doing exactly???

 

 

I saw one video that claimed it is “impossible” to make such a fakery in “low orbit.”  The man making it ignored the above evidence of them actually doing it however.  This impossibility was allegedly proven by taking footage from the International Space Station, which moves too quickly to keep a single spot on earth stationary for that long.

Well, the exact altitude would be unknown to the public at present.  But more relevant, they actually were inside a spaceship capable of traveling to the moon and back.  That means that they were in a spaceship fully capable of parking in orbit over a single spot and maintaining that position.  Just because other orbiting bodies move in a particular way and velocity, doesn’t mean other craft cannot maneuver differently.  (Duh.)

 

FilmmakerOpportunityProtocontest1

I guess I have to inform all my competition about this apparently free competition to get a $20K budget to shoot a short film (with feature potential).  You’ll want to read the webpage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0n9RLrqRyuE

rand-paul

RAND PAUL: Join Lawsuit Against NSA: ‘I’m Going To Challenge This At The Supreme Court’

“I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit,” Paul told host Chris Wallace. “If we get ten million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington.” (Link)

 

Where do I sign on?

I haven’t been a fan of Paul’s but fascism makes for desperate situations. Every American should sign on and stop this out of control police state in its tracks, now.

 

John Pilger: Obama Is A Corporate Marketing Creation